Beethoven rolls over: Centrum cutting loose from acoustic with School of Rock

PORT TOWNSEND — Jimi Hendrix. The Rolling Stones. Spinal Tap?

This ain’t your father’s Centrum workshop.

While Centrum is usually associated with fiddle tunes, jazz, blues and classical music, the inveterate arts and education organization is cranking up the amps by offering high school students a chance to rock ‘n’ roll this summer.

Roll over, Beethoven, and tell Tchaikovsky the news: It’s the first-ever Centrum School of Rock.

“We’re stepping out a little bit here,” said Thatcher Bailey, Centrum’s executive director.

“It’s fun to try something new, get a little bit of different energy going on.”

Centrum has had a long commitment to intensive, weeklong immersions in music ranging from fiddle tunes to jazz, blues to classical, that draws people to Fort Worden State Park from throughout the nation.

Experiences in Creativity

It also offers residential programs called Experiences in Creativity, underwritten by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, for Washington state high school students.

These programs, which offered students the chance to try theater, dance or visual arts, were viewed as separate from the workshops for adults, Bailey said.

But with the School of Rock, Centrum is offering young rockers the same intense opportunity to hone their craft.

“It will offer a pretty serious component of what you need to become a serious musician,” said Peter McCracken, School of Rock program manager.

“It gives kids an idea of what it’s all about.”

School of Rock

* Dates: June 20-25

* Place: Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend

* Open to: Students who have completed grades 9, 10, 11 or 12 by June 2005.

Applicants must submit an audition tape.

* Tuition: $50. Room and board available for $255. Scholarships available.

* Application deadline: May 9

* For more information: www.centrum.org, call Peter McCracken at 360-385-3102, Ext. 127, or e-mail peter@centrum.org.

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